Koenig had an article in The Players Tribune written to NBA GMs on why he should be drafted, but he’ll have to earn a spot with a strong showing this summer and perhaps with the Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s NBA G League affiliate. Koenig reportedly is receiving a two-way contract, a new addition to the league this year in which a player will receive different salaries dependent on if they are in the G League or with the NBA.
All thirty-two NBA teams passed on another Badgers all-time great as well in in Thursday night’s draft, as forward Nigel Hayes went unselected. The senior returned to Wisconsin to hone his game for the NBA after pulling out of last year’s draft, but, like Koenig, will have to impress in the coming months.
Hayes — the Badgers’ third-highest career scorer with 1,857 points — will be joining the New York Knicks as an undrafted free agent.
🎶 If he can make it there, he’ll make it anywhere 🎶
New York selected Frank Ntilikina, a guard from France, with the eighth overall pick. They drafted two more guards in the second round: Damyean Dotson of Houston (44th overall) and Serbian point guard Ognjen Jaramaz (58th overall).
Who knows what Hayes’ role will be with Phil Jackson’s Knicks. Like Koenig, he could develop in the NBA G League, as New York is affiliated with the Westchester Knicks in White Plains, N.Y.
Hayes finished his four-year career in Madison as the only player in Badgers history to finish in the top-10 lists for points, rebounds and assists. The 6-foot-8 forward was named first-team All-Big Ten in his sophomore and junior seasons, and he wrapped up his collegiate career with a third-team All-Big Ten nomination after averaging 14.0 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
It’s going to be weird watching Hayes and Koenig play on separate teams, but at least Koenig’s clutch corner 3s are staying where they belong: in Wisconsin.